Athletic companies are making a big play for Asia this summer. Despite economic uncertainty in the region, brands like Adidas and Nike are looking to make inroads with young sports fans there using their biggest NBA stars.
Nike is no stranger to this strategy. Longtime partner Kobe Bryant made his 10th visit to the region with Nike this summer, hitting Guangzhou, Shanghai and Taiwan as part of the brand’s Nike Rise program, which works to encourage young athletes. Nike-sponsored athletes Paul George, LeBron James and Kevin Durant also traveled throughout Greater China, Southeast Asia and Europe during the off season.
Meanwhile, Adidas is building its own brand buzz in Asia with its marquee players. Early this summer, the brand sent Portland Trailblazer Damian Lillard off on a multi-city jaunt as part of its Take on Summer global tour. Along the way, he made stops in Tokyo and Shanghai.
Then this past weekend, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose joined the Take on Summer tour.
The brand told FN the trip tipped off in Shanghai, where Rose met with fans and players at the Adidas China High School League 3-on-3 and the Take on Summer 4-on-4 tournaments at the Xujiahui basketball court.
From there, Rose headed to the cities of Guangzhou and Shenyang to take part in basketball clinics and in-store appearances. He also helped debut a special signature sneaker from the Take on Summer collection, sold exclusively in China.
While Rose has struggled in the past couple of seasons with knee injuries, he remains a key partner for Adidas, which no doubt is hoping that his strong return to the NBA during the playoffs this spring could spell the renewal of big buzz — and big sales — in the 2015/16 season.
Only time will tell if Rose still has the power to amaze. However, if the excitement of the crowds in China is any indication, his star still shines brightly with young basketball fans.